Alice Walker

“On Stripping Bark from Myself

(for Jane, who said trees die from it)

Because women are expected to keep silent about
their close escapes I will not keep silent
and if I am destroyed (naked tree!) someone will
please
mark the spot
where I fall and know I could not live
silent in my own lies
hearing their 'how nice she is!'
whose adoration of the retouched image
I so despise.

No. I am finished with living
for what my mother believes
for what my brother and father defend
for what my lover elevates
for what my sister, blushing, denies or rushes
to embrace.

I find my own
small person
a standing self
against the world
an equality of wills
I finally understand.

Besides:

My struggle was always against
an inner darkness: I carry within myself
the only known keys
to my death – to unlock life, or close it shut
forever. A woman who loves wood grains, the color
yellow
and the sun, I am happy to fight
all outside murderers
as I see I must.”


Alice Walker, Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete
tags: life, women
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